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June 14, 2012 - 7:47pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in politics, David Bellavia, kathy hochul, NY-27, chris collins.

Kathy Hochul supports Obama, Obama is destroying the country, and only Mitt Romney in the White House and Chris Collins in the NY-27 seat can put things right, Collins told local reporters outside Batavia City Hall today.

“We have to defeat a representative who does not represent our core values," Collins said. "My core values are smaller government, personal accountability, local decision making, fiscal discipline, serving taxpayers and respecting future generations.

"These are not only the core values of the 27th Congressional District, they’re the core values of America. They are not President Obama’s core values. They are not Kathy Hochul’s core values."

Not once during his five-minute speech did Collins mention his GOP primary opponent, David Bellavia.

Asked about it, Collins said he is entirely focused on defeating Hochul on Nov. 6. Even if he loses the primary -- which he said he would win -- he will still be on the Conservative Party line and he said he intends to continue campaigning against Hochul right up until the general election.

"Kathy Hochul supports Obama," Collins said. "She is totally out of sync with the values of the 27th District. She won’t even admit she’s a Democrat."

According to recent reports, Hochul has a voting record that has not been in line with Obama or the Democrats.

The Buffalo News reported over the weekend that "Hochul is bucking the party line," noting that "Hochul voted with the Democratic Party line 81 percent of the time and with the Obama administration 78 percent of the time," which is less than other Democrats.

"Politico" noted that Hochul has not been the lapdog for Obama's health care policies that Democrats expected when she beat Jane Corwin -- in part because Hochul latched onto the GOP's Medicare reform plan as a wedge issue.

Still, Hochul did tell the Buffalo News she will vote for Obama, even though she won't attend the Democratic convention and, the News said, "she gives the president mixed reviews."

For Collins, however, Hochul and Obama are inexorably linked. 

The hook of Collins's remarks today was a statement by Obama that "the private sector is doing fine."

Collins said, the private sector isn't doing fine, not when there is 8.2 percent unemployment, China is cheating at trade and corporate tax rates are too high.

“We’ll keep talking about jobs and the economy, jobs and the economy," Collins said.

With Romney as president and Collins part of a GOP majority in Congress, Collins said policies would be enacted to put Americans back to work, most specifically, lowering the corporate tax rate to 25 percent.

He also said the nation's debt is too high and promised smaller government if the GOP is given a chance to lead the way.

"Small businesses have a lack of confidence in the future of our country," Collins said. "We have a president who let that happen because he needs to keep going to China to borrow money. We cannot continue to borrow $4 million a day, $1.4- $1.5 billion a year and have small business invest in our future. They don’t know where the future is going."

One point Collins and Hochul seem to agree on: Trade. 

Hochul kept her campaign promise and voted against free-trade agreements supported both by the GOP leadership and President Obama.

Collins said he would push for tarriffs on China if the nation continues its current trade policies, which include not letting its currency float on the open market, and giving Chinese businesses a 30-percent price advantage over U.S. companies.

Collins's message for China, "Float your currency, respect our IP, open your own markets -- or else. They need us more than we need them."

May 27, 2012 - 10:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, politics, SD-61, Justin Rooney.

Justin Rooney, a deputy supervisor in the Town of Newstead, announced Saturday that he will challenge incumbent Michael Ranzenhofer in the new 61st Senate District.

Appearing in his native Batavia on his second campaign stop of the day, Rooney was surrounded by local Democrats and joined by his wife, Sarah, and his children.

Rooney pledged support for school teachers and to fight unfunded mandates on local governments.

He said he would bring the same spirit of cooperation to Albany that helped the village and town governments in Newstead save taxpayers money on a consolidated court and shared services in the highway departments.

He contrasted that with votes by Ranzenhofer to hold separate state and federal primaries, costing taxpayers $50 million, and Ranzenhofer's vote to create another Senate district.

"At a time when New York is trying to decrease the number of politicians, he's voting to increase the number of politicians," Rooney said.

Rooney knocked Ranzenhofer as an Albany insider and promised that he would never become an Albany insider.

Lorie Longhany, county chair or the Democrats, said Rooney was just the person who could make a difference in Albany.

"He’s really one of us," Longhany said. "He’s a rural guy who understands the rural issues. He’s going to make a great representative."

April 30, 2012 - 7:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in politics, David Bellavia, NY-27.

Republican congressional candidate and Batavia resident David Bellavia made his tax returns available today for review by journalists and he's calling on his primary opponent, Chris Collins, to do the same.

"This is part of our narrative of being completely transparent," Bellavia said. "If you're going to ask for somebody for a vote, you've got to earn their trust."

On Friday, the Buffalo News ran a story about Bellavia falling behind falling behind on some tax payments and city fees (with all payments being current now), but Bellavia said the decision to release his tax returns is coincidental.

"We always planned on releasing the returns, but (that story) may have pushed it up a week," Bellavia said.

Collins is a businessman who is reportedly wealthy. His press agent, Michael Kracker, has not yet responded to a phone message, nor has the Collins campaign responded to a message on Twitter asking if he will release his returns.

Bellavia betrayed a little frustration with the focus on his finances while Collins, he thinks, has ducked any substantial discussion of issues important to the district.

"When I decided to run for the seat, some Republicans pulled me aside as said I needed to be careful as a Republican not to make the campaign about class warfare. They said Collins is not a bad guy just because he has a lot of money and I agree with that, but now the class warfare is pointed at me. Just as he shouldn't be disqualified for this race because he's wealthy, I shouldn't be because I'm not."

And Bellavia isn't.

While he and his wife, Rochester TV reporter Deanna King, own a house in Ward 1 assessed at $209,000, the family income has only once exceeded $100,000 (in 2007), and in 2009 the Bellavias' gross adjusted income dropped to $29,719. In each of the other three years of tax returns provided by the Bellavia campaign the family income never exceeded $70,000.

In 2007, the Bellavias owed more than $10,000 in taxes at the end of the year, but in each of the other four years the family received refunds.

Bellavia's primary income, according to the returns, comes as an author, and that income has fluctuated widely over the years -- in excess of $100,000 in 2007 (when the family's gross income was nearly $114,000) and as low as $2,400 in 2010).

In 2007, a book Bellavia co-wrote, "House to House: An Epic Memoir of War"  was released. Bellavia has said he also co-wrote and sold the screenplay for the movie "Tie That Binds."

In 2009, Bellavia took time off from writing and speaking to help start and run a nonprofit group for returning veterans called the Warrior Legacy Foundation.

On Friday, Bellevia told the Buffalo News he is "no country club Republican," and he repeated the phrase today.

"It was a fair story," Bellavia said. "It's a story. I'm running for congress and there has got to be transparency, but at the end of the day, it clears the narrative that I'm not a country club Republican.

"You can't elect a person to congress whom it doesn't bother to put $4.05 in their tank," Bellavia added. "It hurts me every day."

Bellavia has repeatedly asked the well-financed Collins to meet in a debate and Bellavia said the lack of substance will hurt either Republican candidate, which ever one wins the primary, when it comes time to face Kathy Hochul in the general election.

"Hochul is a very gifted, talented and competent politician," Bellavia said. "She knows the issues. I disagree with her on the issues, but we can't just wait until after the primary to find out where a candidate stands on the issues, but that's exactly what he (Collins) told the Buffalo News."

April 27, 2012 - 6:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in politics, David Bellavia, NY-27.

David Bellavia has fallen behind on his property taxes and city fees in recent years, the Buffalo News reported today, and while he has paid penalties for being late, he's up-to-date on all of his payments currently.

The Batavia resident is running for the GOP nomination in the 27th Congressional District.

According to the Buffalo News, Bellavia has paid more than $700 in penalties for being late on school property taxes and has been assessed more than $100 in penalties for being late with water and sewer payments.

Bellavia told the News he's had his struggles with finances just like any average Western New York resident.

“I’m not a millionaire; I’m not a country club Republican,” he said. “Yes, my family on occasion has been late paying bills, but they are paid in full, including fees and interest.”

The Iraq War veteran earns money from book sales and according to the News recently sold a movie script to Hollywood.

Bellavia, who backed Tea Party candidate Jack Davis in the May 2011 special election won by Kathy Hochul, is running against former Erie County administrator Chris Collins. Jane Corwin, the GOP nominee who lost the special election in the heavily Republican district was reportedly tightly aligned with Collins and Collins is reportedly working now with the Corwin campaign team.

Photo: File photo.

March 28, 2012 - 4:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in politics, kathy hochul.

Press release from the campaign office of Kathy Hochul:

Congresswoman Kathy Hochul today called on her opponents – Republican Chris Collins and Tea Party candidate David Bellavia – to join her in rejecting Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) 2013 budget proposal. Like last year, the budget would end Medicare as we know it by increasing out-of-pocket expenses for seniors by thousands of dollars, while simultaneously giving $150,000 in tax breaks to multi-millionaires.

“Over the last 10 months, I have made cutting federal spending and putting our fiscal house in order one of my top priorities,” Congresswoman Hochul said. “However, just as it did last year, the 2013 House Republican budget aims to pay our nation’s bills on the backs of our seniors, while at the same time giving massive tax breaks to multi-millionaires and billionaires.

“Representative Ryan’s plan also makes across the board cuts in medical research, high-tech research, and education – making it more difficult for businesses to innovate, create jobs, and compete in the global market. Instead of investing in the American economy, the House budget gives taxpayer giveaways to the nation’s wealthiest, Big Oil, and companies who want to ship American jobs overseas.

“Western New Yorkers want a Representative in Congress who will cut our nation’s spending the right way. That is why I supported a bi-partisan proposal to cut the deficit by more than $2 trillion, as well as the bi-partisan Balanced Budget Amendment, which would require Congress to manage its finances in the same way Western New York families do every day.

“Congress is scheduled to vote on this proposal this week, and I urge Mr. Collins and Mr. Bellavia to join me in rejecting this budget, which will decimate Medicare. The voters of the 27th District deserve to know where the candidates stand."

March 1, 2012 - 10:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in politics, NY-26, redistricting.

Redistricting plans unveiled last night by a New York court reviewing the proposals indicate Republicans and Democrats in Albany have very different views of how Genesee County should be represented in Congress.

One plan splits the county in two and another plan keeps Genesee County whole.

One plan would seemingly make it easier for Rep. Kathy Hochul to retain her seat in November's general election. The other plan would seem to make an election fight tougher.

Both plans presented by the legislature -- the Democratic majority in the Assembly and the Republican majority in the Senate -- say that one of the aims  is to protect incumbent seats.

"Preserving the cores of existing districts — sometimes also referred to as incumbency protection — is a well-established, traditional districting principle in New York," reads a legal brief prepared by Republicans in the Senate.

The Senate memo cites several legal precedents saying that preserving relationships between legislators and constituents is a legitimate legal concern, and that for congressional seats, protecting seniority of house members is important to maintaining the state's influence in the lower chamber.

Democrats in the Assembly prepared a similar memo.

The Democrats also said they put a high value on protecting minority representation (as required by prior legal cases), so for the NY-26, the district includes all of urban Buffalo and Niagara County. It also includes other portions of Erie County and all of Orleans County, but in Genesee County the towns of Le Roy, Stafford, Byron, Bergen and Pavilion are in Rep. Tom Reed's NY-24 district.

The Republicans plan -- which is somewhat similar for WNY to a plan presented by Common Cause -- keeps Genesee contiguous and keeps the entire GLOW region as part of the same district.

In that plan, all of Niagara County and a portion of Erie County are part of the NY-24, making the district almost entirely rural.

The court could make a decision on a redistricting plan by some time Friday.

January 24, 2012 - 11:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Barack Obama, politics, kathy hochul.

Press release:

“Tonight, President Obama reported on the state of the nation and laid out his plan to move our economy forward. While we’ve seen some progress, we need to continue to invest in America, ensuring Americans have good jobs to go to every day.

“The President’s proposal to revitalize our manufacturing community, invest in American infrastructure, and focus on job training at community colleges, like ECC, NCCC, GCC, and MCC, will keep America competitive and bring jobs back to the United States. It’s time we stop rewarding those companies that ship jobs overseas, and start rewarding companies that create jobs right here in America.

“I, however, would have liked to hear more about the President’s plan to cut the deficit and reduce our national debt. This is why I supported the Balanced Budget Amendment that requires Congress to balance its finances in the same way Western New York families do every day; and why I support efforts to streamline government, eliminate waste, and be more responsive to the needs of American businesses.

“Right now is the time for us to come together and work with one another to strengthen our nation and give Americans the chance to get back to work. We have the best ideas, the finest universities, and the hardest working people in the world – now we must create an economy that benefits the working families of America.

“Like the President said, every American just wants a fair shot at achieving the basic American promise; having a good paying job, buying a home, and raising a family. Our country is strongest when every American is contributing their fair share, but this can only happen when we’re all given that fair shot.”

December 30, 2011 - 8:21am
posted by Howard B. Owens in politics.

Elected officials countywide -- some returning to office, some entering office for the first time -- gathered in Genesee County Courthouse on Thursday night for a swearing-in ceremony hosted by the County Clerk's Office.

The ceremony met the state's oath of office requirements and the oaths were administered by county court Judge Robert C. Noonan and State Assemblyman Steve Hawley.

Hawley performed an honorary swearing in of his son Brooks Hawley (bottom picture), who has been selected by the city GOP committee to fill one of the two vacancies left by the election of Marianne Clattenburg and Frank Ferrando to the County Legislature (Ferrando is pictured above and in first picture below). Brooks Hawley can't be sworn in officially until the Batavia City Council approves his appointment.


If you're unable to view the slide show, click here.

We'll post a link later today to purchase prints of these pictures.

November 15, 2011 - 1:07pm
posted by Billie Owens in politics, Batavia City Council.

This information is provided by Geoff Redick of WBTA.

After absentee ballots have been counted, Democrat Pierluigi Cippolone has officially won the election for Batavia City Council Ward 4.

Cippolone wins the election over Republican incumbent Bob Bialkowski, by a final count of 233 votes to 217.

Bialkowski had won the balloted election by just two votes last week. But more than 50 absentee ballots had remained uncounted. Officials counted those ballots, and the final results were announced this morning.

All official results will be posted as they become available from the Genesee County Board of Elections.

November 4, 2011 - 5:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in politics, GCC.

A Genesee Community College photography instructor is in a bit of political hot water in Monroe County over some pictures he took a decade ago.

Besides being a photographer and instructor, C. Stephen Eckel is a Monroe County legislator who is running for reelection.

Eckel's Republican opposition has apparently tried making hay over a couple of nude photographs Eckel posted on his personal website. Eckel posed for the pictures himself, according to a report by WHAM13's Sean Carroll

Eckel, a legislator since 2005, told Carroll that he took the photographs more than 10 years ago as part of his studies for a degree in fine arts.

Eckel released this statement Friday afternoon: "Today, we have seen Monroe County Republicans stoop to a new low in order to distract the public from the real issues facing county taxpayers -- the crushing property tax burden, need for jobs and the culture of corruption that has plagued county government. My opponent has run a negative smear campaign that has distorted the facts."

October 20, 2011 - 8:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, politics, independent living of Genesee Region.

District 1 Legislator Ed Dejaneiro spoke at the YWCA this afternoon as part of a candidates forum sponsored by Independent Living of the Genesee Region.  According to James Moody, 14 candidates for city and county offices appeared at the forum. Each candidate was given a chance to make a presentation and then answer questions from the audience. The forum was not a debate. Moody said the forum gives candidates a chance to learn about the rights of people with disabilities and the needs of the community. "We feel it's important for people with disabilities to get a chance to ask candidates questions."

June 30, 2011 - 2:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, politics, city council, election, Dan Jones.

Dan Jones, a regular contributor to The Batavian, announced Wednesday he will mount a primary challenge against a council candidate already endorsed by city Democrats.

While accusing unnamed Democrats, who are apparently opposed to his candidacy, of already fighting dirty, Jones promised an issue-oriented campaign.

"I believe in order for the city to move forward, council must support policies that are progressive, fiscally restrained and totally transparent," Jones said.

While Jones is endorsed by the Conservative Party, he is taking on Kathryn Balbick Bellamy, endorsed by the Democrats, in a Third Ward primary.

Jones was joined in front of Batavia City Hall on Wednesday by Assemblyman Mark J.F. Schroeder and Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian.

"Dan Jones loves this business," said Schroeder, whom Jones worked for as an intern in Albany. "He loves the business of governance. He loves to help constituents. He loves politics."

A recent graduate of Canisius College, where he majored in political science, Jones was born and raised in Batavia and professes a love for the community and concern about its future.

Besides joining in the conversation on The Batavian -- something he promises to continue doing, even after elected -- Jones has been seen at many city council meetings over the past three years and has spoken out on issues from the ambulance service to consolidation.

Jones, 23, says he is self-employed.

Christian, also a Democrat, said she is supporting Jones because he is involved and outspoken.

"He's not afraid to speak out," Christian said. "Even some of my colleagues are fence sitters who won't take a stand unless somebody tells them where to go. That's not me and that's not this young man."

Jones said he is seeking office with high ideals and an ambition to do what he believes is best for Batavia.

"I seek this office not so it becomes another notch on my resume," Jones said, "I seek this office not because I believe I have a popular last name or because I feel I am entitled to it. I seek this office not for revenge. I seek this office because I believe that Batavia needs to be a leader in our region, and indeed the entire state, in having good government that's responsive to the needs of all of its citizens."

Below, video of the event produced by The Batavian's news partner, WBTA:

June 10, 2011 - 5:13pm
posted by Billie Owens in politics, GC democratic committee, kathy hocul.

This information is from the GC Democratic Committee.

On Thursday, the Genesee County Democratic Committee met at the Batavia City Centre to endorse candidates for offices to be voted on in November.

Three candidates were endorsed for the county Legislature.

In District 5, which encompasses the Town of LeRoy, Jacalyn Whiting was endorsed unanimously. She is a lifelong Le Royan who has been involved in numerous community organizations including: Le Roy School Board member (past and present); Sports Boosters; Le Roy Youth Football, Le Roy Little League, Le Roy Business Council and many other organizations.

For District 7, the endorsement went to John Deleo. He has been active on the City Charter Commission and the City Planning Board. He is retired from the NYS Department of Corrections.

Ed DeJaneiro was also endorsed for another term in District 9.

The Democrats had a surprise visitor when Congresswoman Kathy Hochul stopped by to say hello and thank the committee for their hard work and dedication in the recent special election.

Hocul spoke to the group about her first week serving the people of the 26th District and her resolve to work tirelessly for the good of all the people in the district.

June 10, 2011 - 1:50pm
posted by Billie Owens in politics, steve hawley, NRA.

Here's a press release from Assemblyman Steve Hawley.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C-Batavia) recently met with National Rifle Association (NRA) state liaison Darin Goens to discuss his organization’s legislative priorities in New York.

Goens recently became the NRA’s state liaison for the Northeast. The pair discussed the most vital issues facing Second Amendment rights here in New York.

Assemblyman Hawley has consistently advocated for logical firearms regulations that protect the right to bear arms for responsible gun owners, while keeping illegal weapons out of the hands of criminals.

Hawley is an active participant in the Assembly Minority’s annual Sportsmen Legislative Awareness Day.

He is also the sponsor of a number of bills seeking to end unreasonable firearm policies in New York. This includes Assembly bill 1131, which would eliminate the expensive and unsuccessful Combined Ballistic Identification System. It costs taxpayers $4 million annually, while failing to provide a single link to a gun crime.

May 6, 2011 - 6:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in politics, NY-26, Jane Corwin, Ian Murphy, County Republicans.

Jane Corwin, candidate for the NY-26 special election race, stopped by the Genesee County GOP dinner last night at Bohn's Restaurant.

When I first heard she would make an appearance, I thought I would try to catch up with her there and ask questions in person. Then I heard from her Communications Director Matthew Harakal, who apologized for not sending in the answers for the questions on trade and agriculture, which the other candidates have provided (now including Ian Murphy). Harakal promised them today.

It's 6:33 p.m., and I still don't have the answers. I wish I had asked the questions at Bohn's.

But I did ask Corwin for her thoughts on Ian Murphy being excluded from the WGRZ candidates' debate.

She said it's up to WGRZ to decide whom to include, but "I"m happy to talk about any issue with anybody at any time." 

She said she had no objection to Murphy being included in the debate.

So now Jack Davis, Kathy Hochul and Jane Corwin all say they either favor or have no objection to Murphy being included in the debate.

As for the county GOP's business, here's the endorsed slate of candidates:

Genesee County Legislature

District #1, Towns of Alabama and Oakfield
Raymond F. Cianfrini
District #2, Towns of Elba, Byron and Bergen
Robert J. Bausch
District #3, Towns of Darien and Pembroke
Annie Lawrence
District #4, Towns of Batavia and Stafford
Mary Pat Hancock
District #5, Town of Le Roy
Shelley Stein
District #6, Towns of Alexander, Bethany and Pavilion
Esther Leadley
District #7, City of Batavia, Wards 1 and 6
Marianne Clattenberg
District #8, City of Batavia, Wards 2 and 3
Frank C. Ferrando

Genesee County Coroner - Barry Miller

New York State Republican Committee, Assembly District #139
Gertrude Penepent and John Rizzo
New York State Republican Committee, Assembly District #147
Barbara Eddy and Neil Kingdon

Eighth Judicial District Convention, Assembly District #139
Don M. Read and Charles Zambito, Delegates
David Saleh and Michael Cianfrini, Alternates
Eighth Judicial District Convention, Assembly District #147
Nelson Green, Delegate, Kenneth Alfes, Alternate

One last note: Ian Murphy did answer the questions on trade and ag. His answers are now posted.

April 15, 2011 - 2:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in politics, stave hawley, property taxes.

This information comes from Assemblyman Steve Hawley's office.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C-Batavia) recently attended a press conference in support of immediate action on a property tax cap. The legislation was barred from a vote by the Assembly Majority, who passed rent regulations to control the cost of living in New York City instead.

“Time after time, poll after poll, the people of New York have expressed their overwhelming support for a property tax cap,” Hawley said. “As a representative for the people of Western New York, it is my responsibility to heed the call of my constituents, and I can hear them loud and clear. They are saying that we need to drive down the cost of living for all New Yorkers, not just those in the five boroughs of New York City.”

Hawley explained the litany of issues that coincide with the passage of a property tax cap, which would help families, businesses and local governments reduce the cost of living here in Western New York.

“The reason New York is in such desperate need of a property tax cap is because of the unfunded mandates handed down by state government to our villages, towns, cities, counties and school districts,” Hawley said.

“Mandate relief and property tax caps are not separate issues. They are inextricably linked and must be dealt with in tandem. It’s time to let our local governments run themselves without the onerous ‘Big Brother’ interference from the state Capitol that drives our property taxes in Western New York through the roof.”

Participants at the press conference included Brian Sampson, CEO of Unshackle Upstate, a bipartisan business coalition that awarded Hawley a perfect score on their 2010 Legislative Scorecard. Out of 212 state legislators, Hawley was one of only two that received a perfect score.

April 14, 2011 - 10:18am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, politics, county legislature.

Press release:

Having recently learned of Hollis Upson’s decision not to seek another legislative term this fall, I have decided to pursue the Republican nomination to be the next representative for the 8th District on the Genesee County Legislature.

The 8th District represents Wards 2 and 3 in the City of Batavia. I have been a resident of the second ward for most of my adult life. Before my election to Council at Large, I served as the second ward representative on the City Council. As the current City Council President, I have committed myself to addressing the needs and challenges within the City of Batavia. If given the opportunity, I will work diligently to address those needs at the county level.

April 13, 2011 - 12:49pm
posted by Billie Owens in politics, democratic committee.

The City of Batavia Democrat Committee is looking for interested candidates to run in the nine city races this year.

All ward city council seats are up for reelection as well as the three legislature seats that represent the city.

All city residents that are interested in submitting their name for endorsement are being asked to please send a letter requesting an interview to:

Patrick D. Burk

City of Batavia

Democratic Committee Chairman

123 N. Spruce St.

Batavia, NY 14020

Please have all requests postmarked by April 30.

Requests can also be made by calling 343-9721.

April 6, 2011 - 12:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in politics, Jack Davis, NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul, Ian Murphy.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis) has proposed what he claims is a bold plan to reduce government spending by $4 trillion over 10 years.

The plan would:

  • Repeal health care reform
  • Turn Medicare over to private insurances and provide vouchers for recipients
  • Turn Medicaid into a block-grant funded program with state's picking up any unfunded expenses
  • Lower the highest individual and corporate tax rates from 35 to 25 percent
  • Lift drilling moratoriums on and off shore
  • Cap government spending at 20 percent of the Gross Domestic Product
  • It also makes claims for job creation, claims to spur growth and higher wages, bans earmarks and cuts corporate welfare.

Since this is a plan that the next representative from the NY-26 could be asked to vote on, we asked each candidate to respond to Ryan's budget proposal.

Jane Corwin:

Our country is facing a historical challenge – we can either keep pursuing a path of runaway spending, and job-killing debt, or we can choose to get serious about reducing spending, cutting taxes and creating sustainable long-term economic growth for our children and grandchildren. The plan unveiled today recognizes this reality. I look forward to studying the proposals and working to change the direction of our country.

Kathy Hochul:

It’s time to get our fiscal house in order and start working toward reducing our national debt. There is no question that we need to make substantial cuts to our budget, but decimating Medicare cannot be the solution. Once elected, I look forward to working with all members of Congress to cut wasteful spending, while still keeping the promises made to our seniors and ensuring the survival of job re-training programs, so that our businesses can innovate, create jobs, and compete in the global market.

Ian Murphy:

Ryan's budget proposal represents the height of Republican dishonesty. It's a reverse-Robin Hood, where they rob from the poor and give to the rich. You can't reduce the deficit by lowering taxes on corporations and the super-rich, and cutting social spending. Anyone who suggests such an obvious lie should be laughed off the political stage. It's just one more example of our elected officials representing wealth, not people. 

As for Jack Davis, his communications director Curtis Ellis wrote, "This is a large and complex proposal. As an engineer, Jack wants to give it the attention it requires and deserves. He's looking closely at it and we'll get back to you." That was yesterday afternoon and we've not yet received a response from Davis.

For further reading:

March 17, 2011 - 10:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, politics, veterans, David Bellavia, kathy hochul.

A program to benefit Genesee County's military veterans is in the works. It will computerize discharge papers filed with the Clerk's Office. It will also provide money-saving opportunities for veterans at participating businesses when they show their photo ID card.

Dubbed "Return the FAVOR" (Find & Assist Vets of Record), it began about two years ago in Putnam County and since then has been implemented in about a dozen counties statewide.

Currently, Genesee County stores the record of discharge papers, called Form DD-214, on paper only. Veterans voluntarily submit their DD-214 to the clerk of record in their community as a safeguard procedure so it can be replaced if need be or replicated.

In a few months, the paper trail comes to a virtual end and the data goes online.

"Paper is fragile," said Clerk Don Read.

Not mention inefficient and cumbersome to keep up to date. The county probably has about 30,000 gun permits archived since 1934 when permits were first issued. But how many are active, valid permits is unknown.

Those who have implemented "Return the FAVOR" rave about what a good idea it is, Read said.

David Bellavia -- a highly decorated combat veteran petitioning to run as an independent for Congress in New York's 26th District -- issued a press release today thanking Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul for bringing "Return the FAVOR" to that county.

He praised her leadership in the program, which he termed "an appreciated salute to veterans," adding that it should be a statewide standard.

(His kind words are perhaps notable because Hochul is widely regarded as the likely Democrat canidate in the 26th District and will be a Bellavia opponent if he makes the ballot. Bellavia recently launched a petition drive to get on the ballot.)

Read said his office looked into providing "Return the FAVOR" here last year but the cost was prohibitive. The computer software and plastic ID cards, etc., was estimated to cost $30,000 and that money was not in the budget.

But last fall, the county negotiated with a computer company which was contracted to begin computerizing records of pistol permits on Jan. 1. They found out the company could also do the veterans record/ID card program using the same tools employed for pistol permits at, according to Read, no additional cost.

"The first thing is to perfect the pistol-permit program," Read said, adding that his office is looking at a launch date of May 1 and the veterans program would begin sometime afterward.

"We are contacting officials and asking how they would like the (new) pistol permit to be formatted," Read said.

County Judge Robert C. Noonan heads up the Handgun and Pistol Permit Program. District Attorney Lawrence Friedman is also being consulted along with law enforcement.

"This will benefit the Sheriff's Office because deputies will be able to access the database on our Web site," Read said. "When they are going to an address, they can find out who has a pistol permit and what kind of weapons they have before they get there."

Regarding "Return the FAVOR," Read said they are communicating with other counties to possibly extend the discount benefits across county lines. For example, a veteran with an ID card from Genesee County could get a dinner deal at a participating restaurant in Erie or Wyoming County.

The estimated cost to the veteran applicant at the Clerk's Office would be a one-time fee in the $5 to $10 range.

Read said his office plans to work closely with the Chamber of Commerce and the Veterans Service Agency to get businesses to support the discounts-for-veterans program.

But since the Veterans Service Agency lost a full-time worker due to budget cuts,  Read said he expects his office will have to do more of the "ground work."

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